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ON THE ROAD AGAIN (PART FIVE)
Sunday was also very entertaining as we left Taunton in the morning and stopped off at a place called Barrow Mump, in the Somerset Levels. It was where Time Team excavated near a church on the top of a hill and we walked up the hill to take a closer look. The weather was a little bit grey but it made everything look quite gothic. took off towards Priddy, which is just North of Wells to track down a field with a series of Barrows. We found them and wandered around for a little while with me getting a series of midge or mosquito bites that I didn’t discover until I got back to London. Then we jumped back in the car and drove to Wells where we visited the Bishop’s Palace, a fantastic Medieval building and the Bishop of Bath and Wells was even there when we visited. It has a fabulous moat and is fairly intact architecturally. We could also see the Cathedral from the Palace gardens and we also found the springs that give Wells its name Then we had lunch in Wells and headed back to Taunton, making one small detour to Athel Ney near Barrow Mump to see the memorial to King Alfred, who spent some time in the Somerset Levels after he was driven out of Hampshire. The Levels include King Sedgemoor’s Drain, a huge piece of reclaimed land dating from Charles II’s time. On Monday, I left Taunton and drove back East to Bradford-on-Avon to see my friend Jaspre Bark and then tried in vain to find the country house Stourhead near Warminster. So I gave up and drove back towards London, stopping off to take a couple of shots of the Cherhill White Horse. Here’s a selection of photos including a couple from Porlock Weir, some from Wells, a few from Priddy and from Barrow Mump…

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN (PART THREE)
So after we left the Tarr Steps, we drove north through Exmoor. It’s such a stunning place and one of the wildest places in England so I stopped to take a lot of photos. My next post will cover the magnificent Valley of The Rocks in Lynton, Devon. But here’s a few of my Exmoor photos…

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN (PART TWO)
On the Saturday, we went from Taunton west to Exmoor, which straddles Somerset and Devon and is amazing. I’ve never been to Exmoor so I thought this was a great opportunity to go there. Exmoor is incredible because you can go miles without seeing towns or houses which is uncommon in England and you drive through forest, gorseland and open grassland. We spotted a deserted house on the edge of Exmoor and we stopped briefly to have a quick look. It looked eerily gothic standing by a field. Then we made our way to the first place we wanted to visit: the Tarr Steps, near Dulverton in Somerset. The Tarr Steps is a bridge of sorts across the River Barle and is made of stones sitting on top of each other. It’s not a large bridge or even what we would consider to be a bridge these days but it is in a very pretty setting. Legend has it that the bridge exists because someone made a bet with the Devil. Its age is uncertain with some people claiming it dates from 1000BC while others say that it is actually only as old as 1400 AD. Regardless, it was interesting to visit and the weather was absolutely perfect. Once we left Tarr, we made our way up north, through Exmoor, past people on a hunt and hunt saboteurs a little further from them. I was struck by how open this part of Exmoor was with huge swatches of open ground, looking sweeping and dramatic. It was such a contrast to the part of the moor down near the Tarr Steps. We even passed a few Exmoor ponies. I am going to save the second part of our day on Saturday for the next post because our trip to Lynton/ Lynmouth was also amazing, so here are a few photos of Exmoor and the Tarr Steps…

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CATCHING UP
I got back from the West Country on Monday night and since I took about 1000 photos, I haven’t had time to sort through them in order to post full entries. So while you wait for that, here’s a few photos to tantalise you. The fields with hay are just off the road to Salisbury in the middle of nowhere, the cliffs are at the Valley of The Rocks in Lynton, north Devon and the bridge made of rocks is the Tarr Steps in Exmoor…






















GO SOUTHWEST YOUNG MAN PART 4 OR WELLS ALRIGHT
So I left Taunton on the Sunday morning and meandered my way back to London. I took several A-roads which skirted through Glastonbury and Street and through the spectacular Somerset Wetlands, a huge area of reclaimed land that looked beautiful in the semi-sunlight compared with the pitch-black rain of the night before. Leaving Glastonbury, I saw signs for Bath and for Wells. Now there was no reason to visit Wells for the pagan book but I had heard it was a stunning place and I wasn’t in any real hurry so I thought ‘Why Not’ So I made my way out of Glastonbury and onto Wells. My brother took my folks there for the afternoon back in July and I have to say it is a really beautiful place. Forever associated for me with the evil Bishop of Bath and Wells played exquisitely by Ronald Lacey in Blackadder II, Wells is a small city a little bit west of Bath and it is home to a spectacular Gothic cathedral, which dates from around 13th century, and a Bishop’s Palace complete with its own moat, which also dates from the same period. I admit that I didn’t go into the Cathedral or the Palace, partly because I didn’t want to spend all day there but also because I was conserving my money but they look incredible from their exteriors. So I’ll have to go back to Wells properly someday and I really need to go back to Somerset and explore it further…

















GO SOUTHWEST YOUNG MAN PART 2
So after I went to Stanton Drew, we sat and had lunch and decided to head south to a place called South Cadbury, near Yeovil in Somerset (nothing to do with Chocolate:)). It has this, if you ask me, rather silly association with King Arthur even though there’s no historical evidence to back this up and so you have pubs called Camelot near it. But be that as it may, it’s a 7th century hillfort which now just looks like a strangely-shaped hill. It made me realise that we have our work cut out for us with the pagan book. Having said that, the views from it are pretty spectacular and you can see for miles from its top. It was hard to imagine it as an actual defensive fort but it was still interesting and worth visiting. So here are some photos I took of it…